Websense Enables Policy-based Blocking Of IM File Attachments

By TechSecurityChina.com Editor
March 17, 2004

Websense, Inc., the provider of employee Internet management (EIM) solutions, today announced the launch of its Websense Enterprise Instant Messaging (IM) Attachment Manager module.

The IM Attachment Manager complements the integrated IM management capabilities available within Websense Enterprise, and allows organizations to leverage IM usage while preventing the security, legal liability and bandwidth issues associated with IM file attachments. IM Attachment Manager allows organizations to apply granular policies as to who can send and receive IM file attachments, closing the critical security exposure within public IM use.

IM is a highly informal means of communication within organizations, and while it can provide organizations with a highly efficient business tool, it also introduces significant risks. For example, because of its informal nature, sensitive documents may inadvertently–or even maliciously–be sent outside of an organization, virus laden attachments may find an unmanaged path into an organization, or copyrighted media can be exchanged via attachments. Unauthorized applications may be exchanged in the same manner as peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, without ever being detected or secured by IT staff.

For unmanaged public IM applications, file transfers take place over HTTP ports along with other rogue protocols, thereby circumventing existing security measures. Viruses, worms, and Trojan horses can easily and instantly be transferred via IM from internal and external sources, bypassing security and antivirus solutions already in place. The potential transfer of corrupted or infected files and applications creates substantial security risks for organizations that are not properly managing their employee IM usage. Network bandwidth also suffers as the transfer of large files over IM, whether applications or media, can clog up valuable network resources. By securing and eradicating file transfers via public IM, an organization can control and allocate bandwidth to guarantee network performance for critical, business-related activities. The Websense IM Attachment Manager aims to allow organizations to effectively manage and report on their employee IM usage, creating a secure environment for their employees’ computing resources while enhancing an enterprise’s productivity and limiting legal liability.

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